Although their season didn't end with a championship, Middle Township High School's wrestling team set a new standard of prowess this season.
The Panthers tallied a solid overall record of 17-9 and advanced to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II Sectional Tournament, where they were defeated in the quarterfinal round by eventual sectional champion West Deptford.
“Our major accomplishment this season was qualifying for the South Jersey Group II team playoffs for the first time in school history,’’ Middle Township head coach Matt Wolf said. “To qualify, we defeated Pennsauken High School, 35-34, on a Friday night (Jan. 31) and then swept a home quad-meet the next day, on the eve of the cut off for the playoffs.’’
Six Middle Township wrestlers qualified for the Region 8 Tournament. They are Matt Sgrignioli (113 pounds), Evan Dugan (126 pounds), Mike Adelizzi (152 pounds), Karl Giulian (160 pounds), David Giulian (182 pounds) and Jadan Farrow (220 pounds).
Coach Wolf was also named the District 31 Coach of the Year.
“Senior Karl Giulian was the leader of the team,’’ Wolf said. “He finished an amazing high school career with 104 wins and as just the second three-time region qualifier in school history. He has won multiple individual tournament championships and was a first-team Cape Atlantic League All-Star.
"Finally, he was a team captain. Karl was the only four-year senior on the team, and I, personally, couldn't be more proud of his leadership, attitude and effort.
“Our other captains were sophomores Alick Killian (132 pounds) and David Giulian. Both Alick and Dave are tremendous leaders and mature beyond their years. They are well respected, not just for their accomplishments, but for how hard they work.
"They truly put the team first and work hard to include everyone as a valuable member of our group. We had a number of athletes improve dramatically over the course of the year. Six, in particular, are Matt Sgrignioli, Matt Gariano (138 pounds), Mike Adelizzi, Jayden Matthews (170 pounds), Jadan Farrow and Dom Galati (285 pounds)."
Though their season has ended, there are high expectations for the Panthers, as they look forward to being just as competitive in the 2020-2021 season.
“We return 12 of 14 starters, and we return five region qualifiers,’’ Wolf said. “We have a great group of hard-working kids that we are excited about. We had three First-Team Cape Atlantic League All-Stars. Alick was injured before the District Tournament and was unable to compete. He would have been the second seed.’’